Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 06/06/11

The stars are shining bright, as eleven members of the Peoria Chiefs and Daytona Cubs have been named All-Stars. As roster shuffling plays havoc with offenses, new stars are on the rise. Ryan Cuneo is enjoying life at Peoria, while Nick Struck made a big splash in his Double-A debut. Nelson Perez had a sizzling performance, while there were signs of life in Iowa.

All of this, and more, in this week’s Down on the Farm Report …

Before we begin, I’d like to say that it is understandable to see the amount of frustration with the parent clubs’ season to this point. It becomes especially hard for those who felt that they could see these types of events coming. Improper behavior will not speed up the clock or change what has already happened. By trying to keep this the classiest of all Chicago Cubs’ sites, it can be hoped that the energy generated will work in a positive direction.

And now, on to the report …

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (30-27)
Starting the week with a three game losing streak, Peoria felt like it had to prove something Thursday night. While the offenses in Daytona and Tennessee get all the publicity, the Chiefs decided to show they had a little thunder of their own. They pounded out twenty hits, as Peoria defeated Lansing 11-5.

The big stick of the night belonged to Ryan Cuneo, who was 3-for-4 with two walks and four RBI, including a two-run homer. Matt Szczur also had a big night, going 4-for-6 with three runs scored and blasting his third home run. Arismendy Alcantara, Greg Rohan, Richard Jones, and Micah Gibbs each had three-hit nights.

Dallas Beeler put together one of his longest outings, 5.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out six batters. Alvaro Sosa was roughed up in his 1.1 innings, allowing three runs (two earned). Casey Harman came on to blank the Lugnuts over 2.1 innings, striking out four batters, to earn his first victory.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

The Chiefs got off on the wrong foot with a loss to Great Lakes to start their road trip on Friday. However, Peoria bounced back in grand style again, thrashing the Loons 11-4 on Saturday. Cameron Greathouse again was the story. Greathouse didn’t have his best stuff, allowing four runs (three earned), but continually pitched himself out of jams during his 5.1 innings. Yohan Gonzalez slammed the door on Great Lakes with 1.2 scoreless innings. Big Larry Suarez snuffed out any hope for the Loons with two scoreless innings.

With the exception of Richard Jones, no hitter really stood out on Saturday, with each Chief hitting safely. Jones was 2-for-5 while thumping his ninth homer. Greg Rohan and Kung-Min Na joined Jones with multi-hit games. Arismendy Alcantara had a triple and drove in three runs.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

High Class-A Daytona Cubs (41-16)
The Charlotte Stone Crabs learned something on Wednesday that the rest of the Florida State League is finding out, if you beat the D-Cubs, be prepared for what happens next. After shutting out Daytona 7-0 on Tuesday, Daytona pounded out fourteen hits in a 10-3 thrashing of Charlotte. Matt Cerda led the way, going 3-for-5 with two RBI. Justin Bour also had two hits, including his fourteenth home run. Michael Burgess had a three-run homer, while Jae-Hoon Ha, Logan Watkins, and Rafael Valdes each had multi-hit games.

Jeffrey Lorick struggled with his command, issuing four walks, but hung tough, allowing only one earned run in 5.2 innings. Juan Serrano shut the Stone Crabs down for 2.1 innings to earn his first hold. Oswaldo Martinez had a bumpy ninth, allowing two earned runs.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

After three straight losses, the D-Cubs were looking to end the week on a positive note. Daytona staked Dae-Eun Rhee to an early lead, and then watched him cruise to a 10-4 victory over Brevard County. Rhee allowed three earned runs over his six innings, as he struck out five Manatees. Marcus Hatley added two more strikeouts in his inning of work. Jeffry Antigua pitched the final two innings, giving up an earned run while striking out two batters.

Michael Burgess and Jake Opitz powered Daytona’s offense. Burgess was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI; Opitz was 3-for-5 with a homer and an RBI.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (36-21)
After a Monday loss, Nick Struck took the mound for the first time in Double-A on Tuesday, and didn’t disappoint. Struck tossed six innings in his debut, allowing one earned run and striking out four batters. He also contributed at the plate with one hit in two at bats. Ty’Relle Harris, Jeffrey Beliveau, and Rafael Dolis blanked Huntsville the rest of the way to bring home a 2-1 victory for Tennessee.

The Smokies’ offense has had some troubles recently with all of the roster shake-ups. Matt Spencer (3-for-4) drove in Brett Jackson for a run in the first inning. Tennessee wouldn’t score again until the ninth, when Blake Lalli’s single plated Ryan Flaherty.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

On Wednesday, Huntsville didn’t have an answer for Chris Rusin, as the lefty throttled the Stars for five innings. Rusin ended up allowing two earned runs in six innings, while Ryan Searle, Kyle Smit, and Chris Carpenter allowed only one unearned run the rest of the way in a 7-3 Smokies’ victory.

Marwin Gonzalez was the hot hand for Tennessee, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Steve Clevenger blasted a three-run homer, his fourth of the year. Josh Vitters was 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Junior Lake collected his first Double-A hit.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

In the rubber game against Huntsville, starter Trey McNutt gave up two earned runs in his two innings, to spot the Stars an early lead. However, the game was turned over to the Smokies bullpen, which shut out Huntsville the rest of the way. Workhorse Ty’Relle Harris went three innings and struck out one batter. Lefty Jeffrey Beliveau struck out three more Stars in his two innings to earn the victory. Kevin Rhoderick chipped in with two more strikeouts in his inning for his third hold. Rafael Dolis then nailed down the 3-2 victory with a scoreless ninth for his fifth save.

However, the man of the night was Nelson Perez, who easily had his best game as a Smokie. Perez was 3-for-3 with a triple, RBI, and two runs scored. After coming in as a pinch hitter, Blake Lalli was 1-for-2 with an RBI. Pitcher Nick Struck helped the cause by laying down a perfect sacrifice bunt pinch-hitting for McNutt.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

After consecutive losses on Friday and Saturday night, the Smokies needed a lift on Sunday. And they got it from someone who appears to be their new ace, Nick Struck. After giving up three earned runs in his first two innings, Struck settled down to blank the Jackson Generals over the next four innings, striking out two batters.
Tennessee then rallied with five runs over the next two innings. Matt Spencer drove in Rebel Ridling for the first run. The next inning, Blake Lalli hit a bases loaded triple and scored on an overthrow to put the Smokies up 5-3.

Jeffrey Beliveau pitched a perfect seventh inning, but Chris Carpenter gave up two earned runs in the eighth to tie the game at 5-5. Rafael Dolis went 1-2-3 in the ninth to set up the Smokies.

Steve Clevenger doubled to start the bottom of the ninth. Matt Spencer was walked and Junior Lake was safe on an attempted sacrifice bunt to load the bases. The next two Smokies lined out, leaving it up to Brett Jackson.

Jackson delivered a walk-off single, as Tennessee pulled out the victory 6-5.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (27-30)
Iowa started out the week right, but had to hang on tight as they defeated Round Rock 8-6 on Monday. The I-Cubs leapt out to a 7-0 lead, thanks in part to Jonathan Mota’s two-run triple and Welington Castillo’s two-run home run. Marquez Smith, Scott Moore, and Matt Camp contributed multi-hit performances.

Ramon Ortiz yielded only three earned runs in eight innings, striking out three, before giving way to Blake Parker in the ninth. Parker failed to record an out, as he allowed three earned runs. Esmailin Caridad nailed down the win, striking out two in earning his third save.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Old faces brought about another win on Tuesday, as Iowa routed Nashville 7-2. Augie Ojeda came off the disabled list and went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Bryan LaHair and Matt Camp joined Ojeda in having multi-hit games, while Ty Wright scored three runs and stole a base.

However the star of the night was Casey Coleman. Coleman shrugged off a demotion from the parent club to toss 5.2 innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out six batters. Coleman even helped himself by going 2-for-3 at the plate. Thomas Diamond, John Gaub, and Marco Carrillo blanked Nashville the rest of the way, Diamond earning a hold.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

On Wednesday, Iowa beat Nashville in typical I-Cub fashion, getting out to a big lead, and then hanging on by their fingernails. Jay Jackson had his best effort of the season, showing the kind of stuff that many people feel will land him in Chicago. Jackson went seven innings, allowing one earned run and striking out three batters. Blake Parker had a nice bounce-back effort, muffling the Sounds for an inning. Then Marcos Mateo imploded, allowing four earned runs while failing to record an out in the ninth inning. Esmailin Caridad came to the rescue, striking out the side for his fourth save as the I-Cubs won 7-5.

Iowa was swinging from the heels on Wednesday, as home runs from Scott Moore (three-run shot), Marquez Smith, and Bobby Scales accounted for five of Iowa’s seven runs. Welington Castillo also had a pair of hits.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

After dropping the final two games of the series to Nashville, Iowa came home to face the Omaha Storm Chasers on Saturday. The I-Cubs relied on veterans to propel them to a 10-4 victory. Bryan LaHair and Bobby Scales (3-for-4) each blasted two-run bombs and had three RBI, while Augie Ojeda, Welington Castillo, and Fernando Perez each boasted multi-hit games.

Ramon Ortiz continues to roll along. Ortiz scattered ten hits, allowing two earned runs while striking out two in seven innings. Thomas Diamond continues to struggle, giving up two earned runs in only 0.2 innings. John Gaub cleaned up Diamond’s mess to earn his sixth hold, while Esmailin Caridad pitched a scoreless ninth.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Sunday saw yet another victory, Iowa Cubs’ style. Starter Casey Coleman carried a no-hitter into the top of the sixth inning with the I-Cubs leading 8-0. A leadoff double for Omaha broke up the no-hit bid and an error led to an unearned run. After giving up an earned run Coleman exited and Jeff Stevens gave up four earned runs in 0.2 innings. Blake Parker restored order, but John Gaub allowed two more earned runs to tie the score at 8-8.

The I-Cubs jumped out to the early lead, thanks mostly to the efforts of Bryan LaHair and Scott Moore. LaHair (2-for-3, home run, four RBI) and Moore (1-for-4, double, two RBI) accounted for six of Iowa’s eight runs.

With one out in the ninth, Fernando Perez singled and went to third on Bobby Scales’ single. Scales was thrown out trying to stretch the single to a double. Defensive replacement Matt Camp then singled in Perez for the game winner. Marcos Mateo, who pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, got credit for the win.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Dominican Summer League
The Dominican Summer League began on May 28. The Cubs have two teams in the league. Both the Cubs 1 and the Cubs 2 team are currently 3-2.

Outfielder Jeffrey Baez is currently leading Cubs 1 with a .429 batting average, with a home run and six RBI through five games. Shortstop Francisco Sanchez is hitting .318 with two homers and six RBI. Right-handed pitcher Giberto Abreu has started two games and has a 1.35 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and seven strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work.

On Cubs 2, 2B Antonio Gonzalez has a .368 average, while SS Carlos Penalver is hitting .333. Right-handed pitcher Jose Arias has nine strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.78 through two appearances, including one start, and nine innings.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs called up IF D.J. LeMahieu and OF Tyler Colvin. Catcher Welington Castillo was optioned to Iowa; RHP Jeff Stevens was designated for assignment. Iowa activated IF Augie Ojeda and placed RHP Justin Berg on the 7 day disabled list. Catcher Steve Clevenger, RHP Nick Struck, RHP Robert Coello, RHP Dallas Beeler, and IF Junior Lake were assigned to Tennessee.

Tennessee activated OF Brett Jackson and placed RHP Robert Whitenack (Tommy John Surgery) and RHP Trey McNutt (bruised ribs) on the 7 day disabled list. Right-handed pitcher Hung-Wen Chen was loaned to Campeche in the Mexican League. Outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha was assigned to Daytona from Tennessee. Left-handed pitcher Jeffry Antigua was assigned to Daytona from Extended Spring Training; RHP Matt Loosen was assigned from the Boise Hawks. Daytona activated RHP Oswaldo Martinez from the 7 day disabled list. Utility player David Macias was assigned to Peoria from Daytona. Peoria Chiefs placed 2B Pierre LePage on the 7-Day disabled list retroactive to May 30 due to a groin injury.

The Florida State League announced that Daytona Cubs 1B Justin Bour, SS Junior Lake, LF Evan Crawford, closer Frank Bautista and SP Aaron Kurcz have been selected to be 2011 Florida State League All-Stars.

The Peoria Chiefs announced that six Chiefs players will represent the West in the Midwest League All-Star game. Among the six are three starters: OF Matt Szczur, 2B Pierre LePage and 3B Greg Rohan. Catcher Micah Gibbs and 1B Richard Jones will be among the reserves while LHP Austin Kirk is on the pitching staff.

Major League Baseball’s Amateur Draft will be held on Monday, June 6. The Chicago Cubs will have the ninth selection in the first round.

Top Prospect Watch

  • Michael Burgess (OF) - .198, .304 OBP, .705 OPS, 11 Doubles, 9 HR, 36 RBI, 7 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Chris Carpenter (RHP) – 1-1, 5.23 ERA, 10.1 IP, 8 ER, 5 K, 4 BB, Hold, Save 1.26 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Micah Gibbs (C) – .307, .451 OBP, .820 OPS, 4 Doubles, HR, 10 RBI, Stolen Base (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Reggie Golden (OF) is in extended Spring Training
  • Jae-Hoon Ha (OF) – .267, .320 OBP, .764 OPS, 3 Doubles, Triple, HR, 7 RBI, Outfield Assist (Tennessee Smokies) .295, .328 OBP, .805 OPS, 10 Doubles, 2 Triples, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 6 Stolen Bases, 7 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Brett Jackson (OF) – .264, .464 OBP, .853 OPS, 7 Doubles, 3 Triples, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 13 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Tennessee Smokies)
  • D.J. LeMahieu (IF) – .358, .386 OBP, .878 OPS, 15 Doubles, 2 Triples, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 4 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies) 1-for-5 (Chicago Cubs)
  • Trey McNutt (RHP) – 1-2, 2.70 ERA, 36.2 IP, 11 ER, 22 K, 9 BB, 1.25 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Hayden Simpson (RHP) – 1-3, 4.96 ERA, 45.1 IP, 25 ER, 41 K, 19 BB 1.50 WHIP (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .333, .394 OBP, .835 OPS, 10 Doubles, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 14 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) -.265, .304 OBP, .713 OPS, 11 Doubles, 5 HR, 26 RBI (Tennessee Smokies)

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein
Share on Fancred
  • Chuck

    Maybe this is the best place for my comment but has anyone been keeping track how Ryno is doing with  AAA Leigh Valley?  As of today that team is in first place of the IL.   Being a long time Cub fan, I remember the days of the Shawn-O-Meter.  I suggest with the Down of the Farm Report we have the Ryno- O-Meter report. 

  • paulcatanese

    Good report Tom,after breakfast (and the dishes) 7:00AM here. I will ge back and try to disect the report with my limeted info on the minors. Thats surely the only game in town now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

    Good update as always Tom. Can you tell me what level the Summer Dominican League is like? I have never really looked at it before but seems interesting to keep an eye on.

    • Aaron

      I know you asked Tom, but thought I’d weigh in….Supposedly the Dominican Summer League is comparable to the Northwest League (Boise).

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

        OK so we are talking high rookie league. Great information to know. Thanks for the info Aaron.

        • Aaron

          No problem. And just FYI, usually the guys unlike Baez and Penalever that aren’t tearing it up in the Dominican, they’ll go to Mesa Rookie instead. 

          Currently, the pecking order for Boise is EXST, then draft guys. The guys that have already been playing in Mesa for most of the year will go to Boise, then if they fail, they’ll end up being released, or right back to Instructs. Guys selected in the draft that sign later will get sent to Mesa, as usually there aren’t enough slots open on Boise. Once a guy gets called up to Peoria or Daytona from Boise, they’ll pluck someone from Mesa.

          But that’s usually what happens. So, unless you’re like Baez or Penalever (and that’s not even a given with them), you’re going to be in the Dominican, then Instructs, then EXST next year, then Boise at 18-19 years old. And if you can’t hack it in EXST or Instructs, you’re usually just roster filler for Mesa Rookie, and will be given another year in the system to see if you add strength, then released. 

          At least that’s what I’ve seen happen for awhile now.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

            Good to know. Then my question is why is Reggie Golden still in EXST. He seems to be hitting well there (.333 last time I check which admittedly has been a couple weeks). Are they leaving him open for SS and Rookies leagues?

  • Zonk

    So far I don’t think this has been a great year for the Farm System either.  Some of our pre-season top prospects have flailed, (I don’t even see Jay Jackson on “top prospect watch” anymore, and he was considered close to ML-ready).  Other than LeMahieu, I can’t think of a top prospect who has exceeded expectations.  There are a few fringy ones that have done well like Ha, or Whitenack before he was wiped out by arm troubles.  But overall, I don’t see anyone really taking the bull by the horns here.

    It’s not too late, the Cubs system does have more than it’s share of power arms, but so far there aren’t any big rising stars

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      Look up Rebel Ridings, Flahtery, Gonzalez, and Dolis from AA. All of them have started to reach there potential and are going to be in the mix in the next 18 months.
      The whole roster at Class A Daytona is better than anyone thought at the beginning of the year and there record shows that at 41-16. There are some good gems all through the system just with the Shuttle of the flavor of the week to AAA and to the Cubs you don’t get to see it unless you look.
      The reason you do not see your prospect watch for Jackson is because he has struggled to come back healthy after his trip to the DL. His overall number look down but it is just getting his stroke back from a layoff. Give him a couple weeks and he will be making noise again.

      As has become my theme this season I am going to keep looking at the silver lining. Just because there is so much to be down about and a lot of guys that are way better at breaking down the bad numbers than me are getting that information out there.

  • paulcatanese

    Tom, I like the numbers Matt Szczur is putting up so far this year. Looks like better than average speed with 14 SB and some power with 3HR to date. Think he feels better about Baseball over Football? And Dolis like he is cranking it up with 5 saves. Understand he also throws pretty hard. This post almost sounds like I Know something about the Minors, not yet, but with youre help I will continue to learn.

  • Aaron

    Tom,

    First of all…thanks for the report. Great info on the Dominicans as well. I’ve read a lot recently about Penalever, because of tweets on this page, then did more research. He seems to be the real deal. Same with Baez. Hopefully we get some more talent out of there quickly.

    But you know today will mostly be about Zambrano, right? I thought I’d kick it off with this little nugget:

    ********************************************************************************************
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-0606-haugh-zambrano–20110605,0,6141835.column

    Apparently Haugh seems to think the Cubs should trade Zambrano, and he believes they will this time, and references Bradley’s insubordination, calling out fans, etc. as his last act as a Cub. 

    But what’s curious about this situation is the fact that his catcher (Hill) and other teammates from what I’ve gathered, such as ARAM, were behind him in his assessment of the team. Hill went so far as to say while he didn’t agree with him calling out Marmol, because it was a pitch he was comfortable with….he conceded that the Cubs were playing like a AAA team, and ARAM added that they seem to find a different way to lose every single day.

    But they’re not the only ones that feel that way. The Tribune conducted a poll that said nearly 90% of people agree with Zambrano’s statement of this team. ESPN did one last night, though I can’t find it anymore. That poll had a different question, but it was about the incident and 85% at the time agreed with the way Zambrano handled things. Kruk agreed with his statement too. It seems most fans and media agree with it, because in the words of Kruk: 
    “There is no more ineffective group of veteran players in terms of leadership matching production to dollars than those Cubs”

    I would like to ask everyone on this site a question……Haven’t I been saying this EXACT same thing as the reason Hendry should be fired?!? The past 3 years for sure, I’ve said the same thing over and over again about how the Cubs are the most overpaid, underperforming group of players I have ever seen, and it reflects directly on Hendry, who assembled this mess.
    ********************************************************************************************

    I think it’s long overdue, but the Cubs should start the purge immediately after the draft, starting with Hendry before he makes a big mistake, blaming everything on the one person who has the guts to stand up to anyone and call people out (granted, he’s been crazy in the past, and doesn’t always do things the right way). But Kruk also said Zambrano is basically filling the shoes of Piniella, who wasn’t afraid to call anyone out, because Quade refuses to do so, and coddles everybody (which is one of the MAJOR reasons players supported him…now look at the results). There is absolutely no accountability with this team, and the funny thing is, Wood, Johnson, and Pena were brought in for their leadership. Where are they with all of this?

    There’s a true sense of apathy from not only the fan base, but also the veteran players, and the scariest sight of all is this:

    IT IS STARTING TO INFECT YOUNG PLAYERS LIKE CASTRO NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    …..which was PRECISELY my concern earlier in the year, wasn’t it? I wish I had my direct quote, but I said something referencing Quade disciplining Castro at the end of last year, meanwhile watching Soriano, ARAM, and other veterans dog it on the field without discipline….one could only assume that he’d start doing it too if they’re getting away with it. Sure enough, he’s started doing it, and Quade has lost all control of this team.

    So how do the Cubs fix things? The market for ARAM is limited, but it is there. 

    Phillies- could use him, especially with all the injuries Utley has had this year. They could move Polanco to 2B and have ARAM at 3B

    Angels- they are probably looking for a way to bench Wells, but have nobody to fill in right now. They could move Abreu back to the OF, and have ARAM as DH, and playing 3B to give Callaspo a breather

    Rangers- the Rangers need ARAM, but not for 3B. They need him to DH, so they can have Young playing 2B for the underachieving Kinsler right now. Kinsler needs to sit, and try to regain his stroke. ARAM could also fill in for Beltre occasionally, and Young can go back to his super-utility role versus mostly DH.

    White Sox- this is assuming Williams is buying versus selling. Morel isn’t getting it done offensively, and they need someone like ARAM big time, even though ARAM’s power numbers haven’t returned. At least ARAM is hitting close to .300

    Mariners- they need him badly if Figgins continues to perform the way he is. They sit in 2nd place now, and ARAM would surely improve that outlook.

    Giants- with Tejada struggling the way he is, and Sandoval with a broken wrist, they need help badly

    Rockies- their 3B issues are well documented with Stewart not living up to expectations, etc. But are they willing to spend?

    That’s where you start the purge….with ARAM, who everyone should know by now, is all about the ring, and he likely wouldn’t want to come back anyway next year with the inevitable rebuilding project. 

    After ARAM, you move to Pena, and all the other players signed for one year, with the exception of Wood. I’m also talking about arbitration players, aside from Garza. Johnson, Baker, Fukudome, Hill, Soto, Wells, Davis, Lopez, Grab-ass, etc. need to be gone. When they’re done with that purge, it’ll probably take them all the way to the deadline, which would be the perfect time to examine the market for Zambrano, Dempster, Byrd (if he’s back and performing well), and even Soriano (hey, if the Jays found a taker for Wells….).

    They’d probably find a market for Johnson, Baker, Soto, Grabow (lefty relievers are always in demand), ARAM, Pena, Wells, Zambrano, Dempster, and Byrd, but the rest of them, they’d likely have to release.

    The Yankees and Red Sox would probably love to get their hands on Zambrano, and possibly even Dempster if he stops sucking. The Rangers and Rays would likely have Byrd in their sights if he is healthy and performs well upon his return. The Giants would likely be all over Soto if the Cubs made him available due to Posey’s injury. Johnson and Baker would be in demand as bench bats for just about every team in contention. Wells would likely draw interest from an NL team in contention.

    If the Cubs can’t find a taker for Soriano, I believe they should just go ahead and release him, as he shouldn’t be any part of a rebuilding effort, and as I said before, his lack of hustle is detrimental in the development of young prospects that are brought up.

    I believe the Cubs roster at the end of August (meaning prior to September call-ups) should look like this:

    Garza
    McNutt
    Jay Jackson
    Cabrera
    Coleman (or someone they got via trade)

    Dolis, Marshall, Wood, Carpenter, Mateo, Beliveau, Rhoderick
    *the Cubs should trade Marmol now to get the most value, especially with his velocity dipping this year

    C-Castillo, Clevenger
    1B-Ridling
    2B-Barney
    SS-Castro, M. Gonzalez
    3B-LeMahieu
    LF-Colvin, Flaherty
    CF-Jackson, Campana
    RF-Snyder, Montanez

    September call-ups should include:
    LaHair, Perez, Moore, M. Smith, Flores, Spencer, Wright, Guzman (if rehab goes well), Coello (just to get something out of him).

    Most of the guys I listed above are Rule 5 eligible, which is a major reason why I’d bring them up…to see what they have with them.

    The Cubs have the 3rd worst record in all of baseball to the Twins and Pirates (who are tied for wins at 23 with the Cubs, but have 3 more losses). They likely would finish last in all of MLB if they purge their team of guys performing fairly well like Zambrano, Johnson, and Baker (who are both on the DL anyway). But the point is, they’d get the #1 pick overall next year with the worst record, and the best part of all of this, is they’d get a chance to see what they have for next year and plan accordingly with free agents and players they received in trades.

    • Kojak Osborne Jr.

      I believe we should keep Marmol but how about trading Marshall we probably could get the best value for him every team will want him.

    • John_CC

      Right on. 

      Agree fully on Aramis, it will be a tough sell with that asinine trade/option clause, but there are teams that need him. And he’s actually hitting for average. I’d willing to bet that on a winning team, in a good slot in a good lineup he’d have some protection and probably produce down the stretch.

      I also want to believe so badly, that this is the year they finally trade Zambrano. Sure seems like an ideal time. He is unhappy AND pitching well! Wow!  It’s been a few years since both of those conditions have lined up.  Red Sox and Yanks are only two options, I bet there will be more interested parties as the summer races heat up.  Plus he could DH for the Yanks, Z is a way better hitter than Posada!

      Let’s hope Soto heats up, San Fran is an obvious taker, but offensive catchers are  always in demand. 

      Here’s to hoping the big changes we’ve been crying for for so long will finally come to fruition.  Because if they don’t, in this miserable season, then I don’t think they ever will. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

        One thing I have found out about his contract is there is no notrade clause on the options. Meaning he now has no rights to block a trade but they will have to pick up the 16 million for next year unless he agrees to waive it.

    • Brp921

      I have to Aaron. It is time to start fresh. Keep Greg Maddux, hire a new GM and President and let them decide who stays or goes in management. I am ready to trade anyone except Starlin Castro from the 40 man roster for prospects. I would me more than happy to wait two or three years for a winning team if I believe they are heading in the right direction. Hendry has claimed to be just a couple of pieces away from a championship since about 2003, I think, and I have had enouph. The Cubs need a change. I just don’t expect it to happen because the Ricketts are to conservative with spending their money. Cub fans will probably have to wait out JH’s contract and then who knows what will happen.

    • Brp921

      I have to agree Aaron. It is time to start fresh. Keep Greg Maddux, hire a new GM and President and let them decide who stays or goes in management. I am ready to trade anyone except Starlin Castro from the 40 man roster for prospects. I would me more than happy to wait two or three years for a winning team if I believe they are heading in the right direction. Hendry has claimed to be just a couple of pieces away from a championship since about 2003, I think, and I have had enouph. The Cubs need a change. I just don’t expect it to happen because the Ricketts are to conservative with spending their money. Cub fans will probably have to wait out JH’s contract and then who knows what will happen

    • John_CC

      hmmm….I hadn’t read the Haugh column before I responded the first time. I also hadn’t heard Z’s comments firsthand. 

      Sorry, but Haugh is wrong and Z is right.  He wants Hendry to suspend Z – again – for saying his team is playing like AAA??  Sheeet, I think Z was being generous.  And he didn’t call out Marmol directly, he said “this team” multiple times and “it’s embarrassing” multiple times. 

      Z was pretty collected in his brief statement and was on the money. 

      I still think they should trade him and quick. He wants out.

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    Neil do you have any idea who the Cubs is going to draft  because it is time to look in the future because this team is going nowhere.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      I know I am not Neil but the mock drafts have been all over the place for the Cubs from Bubba Starling to a couple of College pitchers. I think that it all depends on what is available at the 9 spot.

      • Kojak Osborne Jr.

        Thanks for the info

    • Aaron

      I know you asked Neil, but the guys I’m hearing now are:
      Archie Bradley-hs flamethrower from Oklahoma, but with scholarship to be QB there
      Mikie Mahtook-LSU power hitting OF

      MLB.com had their final mock, and they were saying Mahtook. ESPN and Bleacher Report have Bradley if he falls to them.

      Like Neil told me the other day, supposedly they’ve soured a bit on Springer, which is a very good thing in my opinion, so it looks like unless someone like Starling falls to them, they’ll take Mahtook, and if Bradley, Bundy, or Bauer falls to them, they’ll likely take them above a hitter.

      • cubtex

        You never know with the Cubs. Archie Bradley would be nice if he falls. I think Bubba Starling will be gone.

      • cubtex

        You never know with the Cubs. Archie Bradley would be nice if he falls. I think Bubba Starling will be gone.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

         The Scout.com has there final mock draft up with Bubba Starling going to Washington and Sonny gray going to Cleveland. Leaving us looking at Archie Bradley or a bat like George Springer.
        http://sbb.scout.com/2/1077124.html

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Sorry man, the names mentioned below are the ones I am seeing the Cubs linked to. There will be a ‘Talkin’” post later tonight to discuss the draft.

  • Aaron

    Also, I know this was tweeted on the side, but everyone should be aware of what Brenly said:

    http://twitter.com/#!/PWSullivan

    If that’s true, we might’ve seen the last of him in the broadcast booth after this year, provided Hendry is still around. Remember the last time 2 certain broadcasters (Stoney and Chip) called out the Cubs? They were sent packing.

    I have this strong suspicion that something is going to happen to Brenly, because of the strong language he used “dead-ass team”. Whether it be a private fine and reprimand, or public reprimand, I believe he’s gone after this year.

    And that’s sad, because as much as people say both he and Kasper are homers…Brenly is NOT afraid to tell it like it is. Neither is Hughes. So, if they get rid of Brenly, then I guess they have to get rid of Hughes if they use that logic.

    But if the Ricketts look at the real cause of all of this, they’d get rid of Hendry IMMEDIATELY before he makes another dumb ass move.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      Remember that there is a difference between Stoney and Skip and Brenly. Brenly is paid by WGN and Tribune which no longer owns the Cubs. That being said Brenly has a credibilty that neither of the other guys have. A World Series winning manager is a lot more credible than a mouthy Sportscaster.

      I do believe that he will be called on the carpet and his wallet will get lighter for the language used but other than that I do not know what kind of punishment they can do.

    • paulcatanese

      Stoney and Chip were two of the best in many a year and was disappointed that the were not retained because of telling the truth. I do not care for Brenly all that much but he will tell it like it is. Fans are not stupid and can recognize the difference between a homer and one who is straight forward. I appreciate what he does and would not like him to be out. But with present management and the way they have Ricketts locked up Brenly could be gone

      • Bryan

        Paul…I’ll tell you, I don’t know what happened to Chip, but in living here in Atlanta I absolutely dread the games in which he announces (which fortunately aren’t that many any more).  He goes off on tangents, fumbles on most key play by play calls, and is the epitome of “homer” to the point where it’s naseauting.  I’m not a huge Kasper fan either, but I really don’t miss Chip.  And you gotta believe that Brenly has a lot more on his mind about the current Cub state than comes out of his mouth.  The whole current Cub scenario is just a major league mess. 

        • cc002600

          I’d much rather have Chip than Kaspar. 
          Chip actually has a pulse and gets excited when something happens on the field.

          Kaspar = Boooooring.
          zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • John_CC

      Or, they could send him downstairs to the dugout after Quade is sent packing…

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

        Bob Brenly said he did not want the job when asked about it last August. I would rather have had him over Sandberg or Quade just because he has that automatic respect factor but I do not think he wants any part of a rebuild.

    • cc002600

      You can “tell it like it is” and be a homer at the same time. Look no further than Harry, who was the best announcer that I’ve ever heard.  He rooted for the home team, but when they sucked, he said so. That’s the kind of announcer I like. And he made everything seem exciting.

      I really like Brenly who tells you the truth,, but Kaspar is a boring, company shill, who sugarcoats everything with BS excuses…..he just puts me to sleep.

      and I really love Pat and Keith

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

    Wow it took all of 3 weeks for Rosenthal to quit being in Hendry’s pocket! Makes me wonder if there was a lovers spat? Either way I think he is pretty close on his assessment of Soriano and Z. Aram does not have a no trade clause anymore with the options but does have the vesting problem. I still read on Cots that it is waivable but you never know.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/chicago-cubs-mess-just-getting-worse-ken-rosenthal-notes-analysis-060611

  • Aairkeys

    Alot of Cubs talk on XM radio today. Casey Stern and Jim Bowden were discussing who the Cubs should draft, the future of the team and even mentioning that it is time for Hendry to go. They mentioned a lot of the same thoughts we as fans have been mentioning on this site!

  • Aairkeys

    Alot of Cubs talk on XM radio today. Casey Stern and Jim Bowden were discussing who the Cubs should draft, the future of the team and even mentioning that it is time for Hendry to go. They mentioned a lot of the same thoughts we as fans have been mentioning on this site!

  • Aairkeys

    Alot of Cubs talk on XM radio today. Casey Stern and Jim Bowden were discussing who the Cubs should draft, the future of the team and even mentioning that it is time for Hendry to go. They mentioned a lot of the same thoughts we as fans have been mentioning on this site!

  • cubtex

    Jim Callis final mock draft had Cubs drafting Bubba Starling. That would be nice!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      Yeah it would. Lets just hope that our wonderful GM doesn’t do one of his favorite out of the box thinking things with a top ten pick.

  • Tom U

    Thank you to everyone for your comments.

    A special thank you to Aaron for answering some of your questions. I’m not at liberty to answer questions at work, and Aaron was able to give you the same type of answers I would have. I’m usually home around 5 PM CDT, so if you have specific question for me, around that time would be good to post.

    Once again, thank you Aaron for picking up the slack!